Facebook, Google, Linkedin, Twitter, Paypal, eBay, VMWare, EMC, Symantec, Bord Gais, Vodafone, AIB, CRH, Accenture, Deloitte & Touche…..the list of companies using Oracle in Ireland is almost endless.
A recent survey estimates 4,500 IT vacancies in Ireland, and highlights Oracle as one of the key In-demand skills in demand by these employers. On 23rd May 2013 a skills audit carried out by Fast Track to IT was published. This organization carried out a survey of 38 multinational and Smaller Medium Enterprises that together employ 25,000 people in Ireland.
Database Administrators at competent and expert level are in high demand, with also some demand for entry-level DBA’s. Professionals with the general Oracle skills showed some demand at all expertise levels. Oracle ERP skillsets showed significant demand for competent and expert level experience levels.
So the question arises, what are these companies looking for in an Oracle professional? Let’s look at the types of Oracle Professional describing
- Common Skills
- Typical Knowledge Areas
Oracle Professional Types
- Technical Professionals
- Functional Professionals /Business Analysts (B.A.’s)
- Hybrid Functional/Technical Professionals
- Super Users
- Project Managers
- Database Administrators
Technical Professionals allow the project to implement customized functionality including reports, interfaces to external systems, workflow, data conversion among others. Business Analysts gather and analyze the requirements, design, configure & test the solution, and support the business once the project has gone live. Hybrids have a mix of functional and technical skills, and are therefore more marketable.
Super users are the operations team key IT people, they often take key roles on Oracle projects, representing the business in the project team. Project Managers with Oracle backgrounds can utilize the experience gained in different roles in running a success Oracle project. Database Administrators or DBA’s protect the data, they perform tasks such as installation, upgrade, security, storage capacity and planning and tuning.
The following diagrams illustrate the common skill-sets of technical Professionals. Over time a professional may pick up other skills, but a person will generally be hired for a “Technical” role.
The application is delivered with a number of standard reports, which will meet most business requirements. Once an additional requirement has been agreed, the Technical professional decides if an existing report can be modified, or if a new report is required.
An interface transmits data from one system to another. The technical professional builds the architecture so that the required data can be successfully transmitted and understood by both the sending and receiving systems.
Oracle Workflow – Oracle EBusiness specific skill
Many of the Oracle EBusiness suite transaction flows are now controlled by a Workflow. Oracle standard workflows are designed to implement most common business flows. If a new requirement in this area is identified, the technical professional modifies the workflow to manage the new requirement, and ensures no impact on standard transaction flow.
XML is used in Oracle to create reports & to transmit data according to document standards. These standards specify a message architecture to describing an object, and allow more efficient communication between systems. For instance the Open Applications Group Integration
Specification(OAGIS) specifies message architectures called Business Object Documents(BOD’s) that define the fields contained in a sales order, for example. Once an XML message meeting this sales order message architecture is created, it can be transmitted and understood by different systems in an Oracle system.
When a business is migrated to Oracle, historical data is required in the new Oracle application. This data can be defined as master data (customers, vendors etc), or transactional data (historical invoices, purchase orders). Import of these data types into the new system allows the system users to leave the old system behind. Conversion specifies what data types need to be imported, what range of each data type will be imported, how the import will be achieved, and how the results will be validated.
Business intelligence Tools
BI tools allow the collection and display of correct information to a business audience. Data is typically reported, summarized, analyzed & distributed to various business users. The information provided is then used to enable business decision-making. Technical Professionals provide the architecture and design the reports to meet the business requirements.
Technical Professional Attributes
The following diagrams illustrate the Typical Attributes of a technical professional. With time and experience a professional will develop these and other attributes, but this is a good starting point.
Technical Professional Attributes include:
A technical professional uses analytical skills frequently on an Oracle project. A good technical professional reviews the functional requirement, and presents technical options to the functional professional. Logical thinking is also required to ensure technical implementation of the solution will be feasible, stable & supportable.
Technical Professionals will gain functional knowledge from discussing solutions with the Business Analysts, and from prototyping and testing their own solutions. Good functional knowledge shortens design & development cycles, and ensures delivery of a good solution.
Testing is one of the most important areas of technical consulting. A thoroughly tested technical solution is the foundation of a successful Oracle customization. A good testing strategy should combine functional and technical elements, using the skillsets of both types to ensure the
customization will operate as per the requirement.
Recommendation of technical approaches to project requirements is an important responsibility of the technical professional. A good knowledge of the toolset allows the technical professional to recommend good solutions.
Knowledge of the Oracle application is a useful skill for a technical professional to have. With some application knowledge in the subject area, a technical professional can have an informed opinion, when discussing the solution with Business Analysts. This allows for a deeper level of solution
understanding, and should ensure a better solution is delivered.
Technical Professionals are required to discuss the feasibility and delivery of technical solutions with Business Analysts, and with the project management office. The primary problem faced by a technical professional in this area is how to communicate a problem to the appropriate audience; who may have no technical knowledge
Technical Professional Typical Knowledge Areas
Application data for each module is stored in the corresponding tables. In the Oracle EBusiness suite for instance, Receivables transaction information is stored in the ra_customer_trx_all table, whereas the receivables line information is stored in the ra_customer_trx_lines_all table. Knowledge of these table structures, and how to join them together, is a basic skill for an Oracle technical professional.
An Application programming interface(API) is a stored procedure used to create & update data in the core Application tables. These very powerful tools allow update of Oracle data from customized components. A technical professional will use these API’s when creating interfaces between Oracle and an external system, designing customized screens or Workflows.
A good technical professional is also a thorough tester. Testing technical changes requires technical and functional knowledge, and a thorough test is the proof that the component operates according to the specification. Testing strategies should be agreed between technical and Business Analysts in the early stages of development, as this will save much time when the official testing phases start.
A Business Analyst designs the inputs and outputs from any customized component, but it is the technical professional who decides if, or how best, this can be achieved. An experienced technical professional can discuss and explain technical feasibility of a solution with the Business Analyst, until a compromise is reached.
Workflow – Oracle Ebusiness specific
A workflow is used to direct information to various business departments according to business rules. For instance, a sales order is captured by the order desk, fulfilled and shipped by the warehouse, and is invoiced to the customer by the Receivables department. Workflow is used to control this flow. A large number of standard workflows are provided as part of the standard Oracle package. If the client has an unusual business process flow, this can be controlled by modifying the Workflow.
I listed the common skills, personality attributes and typical knowledge areas that I have worked with over my career as an Oracle Ebusiness suite Technical consultant. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these skills; technical Professionals come in many shapes and sizes and I don’t have all of these skills myself.
I started my career with a single technical skill, SQL, and built from there. Some roles or projects require only some of the above skills, but they form a good basis for comparison with your own skillset.
1 Fast Track to IT Skills Audit: Fast Track to IT Skills Audit